Naming Your Tailgating Crew: The Good, The Bad & The Ill-Advised

So you are at the point where your tailgate has gotten big enough that you need your own identity? You are struggling to come up with a name that embodies who you are, and what you are about, possibly rhymes or has alliteration, is catchy, and is short enough to fit on a t-shirt. After all, “The Dan, Bob, Steve, Joe, Rhonda and Becky Miami Dolphins Supporters, and Tailgate Party Group” really doesn’t have a catchy ring to it.

You need to find a name that helps you stand out from the sea of mediocre tailgaters and gives you your own identity. But how do you come up with a good one if you don’t know the rules? Well, good thing you are here because we will provide you with a few easy-to-follow guidelines on selecting a name for your tailgating crew. More importantly, we will provide you with invaluable information in knowing which types of names to avoid. We’ll start with the ones you’ll want to avoid and work our way toward the types you should consider.

The Ill-AdvisedIndoctrinating a Current Player’s Name into your Tailgating Crew’s Name.
How many times have you bought a jersey of that “can’t miss” rookie first-round draft pick who ends up being a total bust? Hello? JaMarcus Russell? Ryan Leaf, anyone? More times than you care to remember I am guessing. Once they have achieved ultimate draft bust status, that jersey is going straight into the trash along with that guy’s career. So why would you entrust the name of your tailgating crew to include a player’s name that is currently on the roster?

Players get traded, get injured, are suspended for using steroids, get arrested for domestic violence, get picked up on DUIs, or the best-case scenario, eventually retire. No matter how great you think the player is or will be, no player plays forever.

Take the Braylon Bunch for example. Named after wide receiver Braylon Edwards while he was playing for the Cleveland Browns, this tailgating crew must have thought they hit the jackpot when they chose this name. In 2008, Edwards led the NFL in dropped passes and was promptly traded to the New York Jets prior to the 2009 season. So much for Braylon Edwards still making an impact in Cleveland and so much for the Braylon Bunch having a cool and catchy name anymore. All of those t-shirts you see in the above photo have probably all been placed in a landfill somewhere outside of Cleveland. So unless you are 100%, guaranteed that the player you choose will never get traded and will have a Hall of Fame caliber type career, stay away from names that include a player on the current roster. You would hate to be a San Francisco-based tailgating crew and be saddled with the name “Druckenmiller’s Drinking Crew” for the next few eons.

OJ SimpsonThe BadIncorporating Extraordinary Former Players or Popular Former Coaches Into The Crew’s Name
Many tailgaters would think naming their tailgating crew after a popular coach or a Hall of Fame player might be a good choice. Then again, even though those players and coaches may have an unblemished reputation in your particular locale, unless they are deceased, they can still tarnish their good name and reputation. Imagine if you were a Buffalo Bills tailgating group and named your crew after O.J. Simpson. What if you were a part of a New York Giants group that named itself after Lawrence Taylor? Both of those players had Hall of Fame careers but the life choices after their football careers were completed ruined their respect and good name forever.

The same thought process applies to coaches. I know Jim Tressel at Ohio State was beloved in Columbus but his recent involvement in an improper benefits scandal forced him to resign recently. If there was a tailgating group out there that chose to name themselves “Tressel’s Troopers” or “Sweater Vest Drinkers”, they are probably scrambling right now to come up with a new name.

The only exception that should be made is for those players and coaches who have passed on. There is no shame in a Chicago Bears group naming their crew “Walter Payton’s Posse” or Dallas Cowboys tailgaters calling themselves “Landry’s Lads”. Just make sure to do some research on the player or coach to ensure they were as squeaky clean as you remember them.

Florida State Tailgaters

The GoodIncluding The Team City/University, Mascot, or Colors Into The Group Name
Rarely does a team change cities, mascots, or colors. One rare case was when St. John’s University changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm. Until 1994, the St. John’s mascot was the Redmen, which referenced the red uniforms worn by the university in competition. However, the name was interpreted as a Native American slur in the 1960s and was changed to the Red Storm after mounting pressure on colleges and universities to adopt names more sensitive to Native American culture. St. John’s tailgaters that adopted a group name that included Redmen might consider changing the name but the occurrence of a school changing its mascot is very rare. In light of today’s politically correct culture and the mounting pressure by the NCAA for schools to abandon Native American mascots, those tailgaters may want to steer clear of incorporating Seminoles, Sioux, or Redskins into their name just as a precaution.

Examples of good tailgating crew names that heed this advice are groups like Club 49 (a San Francisco 49ers tailgating group), Big Blue Tailgate Crew (A New York Giants tailgating group) or the Bengal Bomb Squad (a Cincinnati Bengals tailgating group).

Unsupervised BusThe BestBuild Your Team Name From Your Own Blend of Personalities or Unique Meeting Spot
Enlisting this naming criterion takes some creativity and thought and is not just a cookie-cutter way of creating a tailgating crew’s name. Consider naming your group based on where you park and tailgate. A group of girls who park near us in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot for Chargers games is known as the “B3 Girls”. That’s because they always park under, you guessed it, the B3 light pole in the parking lot. Even fans inside knew them as the B3 Girls and not by their individual names.

Renowned and notorious Washington Redskins tailgaters the Dead Tree Crew or DTC for short, garnered their name because they would park in a section of the parking lot where a dead tree had yet to be removed. The Unsupervised tailgating group got its name from an epic road trip while many of its members were in the middle of their college days at LSU. Several future members headed out of town for a drinking weekend without their “significant others” – they were truly UNSUPERVISED for the weekend, and a tailgating group with a mission was born.

Another aspect of your tailgating group name might be a specialty dish you are well known for or is always served at every tailgate party. Maybe you always have some sort of obscene amount of meat cooking and might call yourselves the “Blue Lot Carnivores”. Maybe you serve a specialty drink in the lots that sets you apart? The rule here is to be creative while staying true to yourself and expressing your tailgate crew’s uniqueness.

Conclusion – Of course, you can name your tailgating crew whatever you want. After all, this is still America and you can do as you like. But take it from a guy who has seen and heard about a lot of different tailgating groups. If you want to avoid the hassle of having to change your tailgating crew’s name, give this post a second read. If you are planning on spending the money to print up T-shirts or even more drastic, get a tattoo of your tailgating crew’s name, read this post a third time.